Mexico City International Airport to Spends US$14M on Security Equipment

Some 150mn pesos (US$14.1mn) has been invested in new security systems and staff at Mexico City international airport (AICM) and as from January 1 passengers will have to pay US$1-2 for baggage checks, local press reported.

The airport has spent its money on 30 manual explosive trace detection (ETD) scanners and 14 automatic security devices for the detection of explosives, weapons or drugs, as well as 183 new security staff to revise baggage.

The new security measures will be put into place on the first day of 2006 for passengers on international flights, especially to the US, and will cost US$1-2 per traveler, which will be in addition to the airport tax. In July it will then be applied to national flights.

The charge "will allow the recovery of the 150mn pesos invested by the Mexico City international airport in acquiring 30 special ETD machines and 14 automated devices for the detection of prohibited objects," airport spokesperson José Luis Uribe was quoted as saying by newspaper La Jornada.

However, if the AICM repeats in 2006 the 24 million passengers it is expected to handle in 2005, a charge of 15 pesos per passenger would bring in a total of 360mn pesos. The increased revenues will also be used to pay the salaries of the newly hired staff.

At the same time, "it seems to me that we are losing sight of the fact that the airports were privatized to eliminate costs and subsidies, both to the federal government and to contributors, which in this case are the passengers who will have to absorb the increases," airport specialist Fernando Gómez Suárez was quoted as saying by newspaper Crónica.

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